The Importance of Stretching

By Caitlin Hicks

 

There are few better ways to bring space into your mind and body than intentional movement. Breathing and stretching are two things that are key in helping us to feel and live better. I have always found that when I stretch I can move through my day with a sense of clarity. It’s my form of meditation when meditation is too difficult.

 

The benefits of stretching are endless. Think; improved flexibility, decreased soreness, improved circulation, enhanced performance, improved joint flexibility, fewer injuries and decreased stress levels. Finding that mental space and room to breathe has quite a powerful effect on the body. We have so much energy pent up in our bodies. Sometimes such simple movements can release all the built up negativity we've stored.

 

When you take it back to basics there is no need for equipment or a gym. Any floor will do. Sitting in silence and allowing myself to bask in that empty space never fails to deliver a sense of calm. Treat it as free movement and not as a work out. Moving in a way that feels right for you can really liberate your entire body.

 

Stretching should never be something that feels forced or painful. If it hurts, stop. There are many movements that you’ll find work for your body’s needs.

 

Below I have listed a few of my favourite stretches when I’m feeling tight. 

 

  • Thread the needle (for shoulders)
  • Pigeon pose (for hips)
  • Standing hamstring stretch (for hamstrings)
  • Figure four stretch (for hips and glutes)
  • Butterfly stretch (for inner groin)
  • Downward dog (for the whole body)
  • Upward dog (for chest and spine)
  • Wheel pose (for the whole body)
  • Extended puppy pose (for the shoulders and back)